Arden International has announced Josef Kral and Jolyon Palmer will form its driving strength in the 2011 GP2 Asia and GP2 Main Series as the team looks to build on its return to winning ways.
Although 2010 racewinner Charles Pic has moved on, 20-year old Kral brings experience from his debut season, while Palmer steps up having claimed runner-up honours in the 2010 Formula 2 Championship. The Czech appeared to be on the verge of becoming a frontrunner when an aerial accident at Valencia's street circuit left him with back injuries that curtailed his racing until the season finale in Abu Dhabi, where he started on pole for the sprint race.
“I am very happy to be part of the Arden GP2 team and I can´t wait to start working together," Kral admitted, "After such a difficult season, when I missed some races because of my back injury, I hope that we can make up for it in 2011. After the test in Abu Dhabi, where we showed that together we can be right on the top, I felt that this is the right decision. I am sure that Arden experience will be very helpful in the development of the new car and I will do my best to show that their choice was the right one.”
Palmer, meanwhile, continues to follow in father Jonathan's footsteps on the road to F1, stepping up from Formula 2 - where he dominated the early part of the season before being pipped by Dean Stoneman - to make his GP2 debut.
“It's obviously going to be very tough, as indeed it should be, but I feel confident that two seasons of F2 have given me a very good grounding and I'm looking forward to rising to the challenge," the 20-year old noted, "Arden have tremendous experience and have had great success in the past, and I hope my performances will reward the faith they have showed in selecting me.”
“We are very excited to secure Josef and Jolyon for both 2011 GP2 Championships," team manager Richard Dent concluded, "We have been watching Josef closely for some time and our confidence in him was increased when we tested him at the end of 2010. He showed us his technical feedback and pace, two skills that will help us with this third generation of GP2 car. We didn't test Jolyon at the end of last year, but watched with interest and we were impressed with what we saw. Now on Pirelli tyres, it promises to be another exciting season and, with Josef and Jolyon on board, I am sure Arden will be pushing hard in the championship.”